Swim team racks up record, state-qualifying times

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Chris Compton knew his swim in the100-meter backstroke was going well and he got excited, maybe too excited.

"I knew that I was swimming fast," he said. "But I was thinking about it too much because I turned too early in my second turn and it probably cost me some time."

Compton still won the race and still swam a state-qualifying time. It's just that he missed the school record by .2 of a second.

"It's still early but it would have been nice to get the record at home," he said. "I felt pretty good and next week, I'll see if I can get it."

Compton's swim was one of six state-qualifying swims for the Moffat County High School Bulldogs Friday night in a dual against District 51, which is a team comprised of swimmers from Palisade, Grand Junction Central, Grand Junction and Fruita.

In addition to state-qualifying swims, the names of Compton, Kyle Eitel, Nick Ruckman and John Shipley will soon be inscribed on a nameplate for the school record in the 200- medley relay. Shipley continued his stellar early season with his second state-qualifying swim in the 50 freestyle. Even more impressive was his diving performance in which he scored 262.85, shattering the previous school record of 217.9. A score that had the District 51 divers coming up to shake Shipley's hand afterward to comment on how impressed they were.

"John's performance was great," said coach Jim Vorhies. "I'm not real familiar with the Front Range diving programs but I'm pretty sure that score will put him in the top five in the state right now."

Jerry Davis also had a state-qualifying day in diving with a score of 215.15. If not for an over-rotation in his two-and-a-half flip dive, he possibly would have broken the school record as well.

In one of the closest races of the day, senior John Ilko was edged out by District 51's Heath Howerton by .09 of a second. Despite the split-second loss, the senior was content with his last 100 freestyle at the Moffat County pool.

"I pushed all I had on that swim," he said. "It's my best time this year and I'm pretty

happy with it."

Vorhies was impressed as well.

"That may have been the best race I've seen John swim," he said. "It was a nice way for him to finish at home."

The final qualification came in the 200-freestyle relay with Ilko, Eitel, Kellan Moore and John Shipley improving their previous best time by three seconds to 1:50.51.

The Bulldogs lost to District 51, 54-48, yet the losses in dual

meets aren't a big worry for the team.

"Coach said that winning the little meets doesn't really matter too much," Compton said. "The big meets are where we'll do better because the guys we have winning the small meets will win the big ones, too."

The blue and white won six of the 12 events in the meet. The only win not fast enough for a state-qualifying time was Eitel's win in the 100 breaststroke.

Vorhies expects his team to continue get faster.

"We're still getting conditioned and in the longer races you could see that a week off for spring break kept them slow," he said. "I think we've still got a couple of qualifications down the road and a good season as well."

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com.

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